Dear Mr. Future President,
My name is Tavona Lindo, I am here to talk to you about the foster care system because it seems that this issue always go unnoticed and more and more kids get placed in a bad home every day. Many people assume that because so many people want to adopt etc., that kids who end up away from their family have a place to go but in reality, there is not enough homes for us and majority of the time it takes a long process just to get into a placement and not a group home. There are many problems that us foster youth face in the system but because no one takes the time to help us and create a voice for us a lot of our issues get ignored whether it’s licensing to the right people, kinship care, money distribution, the transitions of placement, expertise in social workers and many other things that I can go on about that people never heard of neither. Being a current foster youth myself I have been through so many struggles with the foster care system and If it weren’t for my strong personality I probably would end up like the rest of the 80% that does not become successful after the system.
As a president, you have the power to get things passed and have all the resources to help these issues. If I may I’d like for you to consider doing a few things; 1. Create a better law that makes background checks go more into debt about people who want to foster, we need to make sure that no more kids get abused and neglected in homes because the system won’t properly evaluate them. From my personal experience I was put into a foster home with my sister and because social workers will give them appointments in advance they had enough time to gather everything and make it seem like the home was good on the outside but behind closed doors our relationship was terrible. There needs to be something more to make sure that people who want to adopt or foster are doing it for the right reasons, we need to stop letting these ill people take in our youth who desperately want a family and then just leave them to survive in harsh environments.
We need to fix this kinship care rule, just because a relative may seem to be fit to take care of their kid later on in life doesn’t mean they want to, living with my aunt taught me a lot, I learned that no matter how much family say they are there for you when it comes down to that foster check every month.
Anyone can make love seem real. When the system puts us foster youth back into homes with our blood relatives that most likely is a bad thing because we are not used to them anymore, we don’t get the same love and attention like any other kids living with their family would, and there it is even more likely we will get abused going back to our relatives than being put in a placement. So with that being said, we need to take a look at the reasons relatives want to come back into our lives after not being fit, to begin with.
Not many people understand this and most of the time they just brush it aside but the transitions into placements are the worst times when being in the system. The system takes so long to process a home that by the time we actually find one it’s already too late. Another experience I had that I would never forget is sleeping in my former social worker’s office with my older sister. When my sister and I were taken from my aunt’s custody because of extreme abuse we did not have a place to go, we had to sit in the county jail for hours until our social worker was able to leave work and even after that it took her the rest of the night till morning to find my sister and I a placement so that we wouldn’t be sent to a group home.
People believe that group homes are for just bad kids and that was true, a few years ago. When foster youths don’t get placed into a home because of whatever reason of it being unavailable we get sent to group homes until a placement is found, and even after that, they get sent to the juvenile facility. Now many people may say “No that’s not true ….” but it is, and that’s how bad the system truly is. We need to create emergency homes just for situations like this because the majority of the time kids get taken at random and not having anywhere for us to go after just being abused etc., can take a great toll on us.
I understand some of the things I’ve asked you to consider may seem like a lot but I assure you those are just the beginning of the problems in the foster care system and it is time to start helping out and finding us better homes so that we can have a safe haven and be able to call a place our home and not be scared to go there. The government needs to realize that foster care is as real as an issue as gay marriage, legal age drinking, etc., so it’s time that us foster youth stop being pushed aside and become a priority in this country. I hope for the best of your years in office and I would look forward to seeing you make these changes.